The history of the winged hourglass brand inspired the production of the Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph models. However, this is no case of bringing back an old piece.
The chronograph function: a complication
It may be necessary to remind ourselves that the chronograph is still today one of the most beautiful watchmaking technique complications. There are several kinds of chronographs. Firstly, the most elegant and difficult ones to create are those that have the timing mechanism embedded in the movement. The module’s components are therefore included in the movement, usually near the bridges. The second kind has the chronograph’s components installed on a basic plate or wheel. Lastly, for the third type, a completely independent module is installed on the movement, which is in some way the watch’s motor. This module is completely separated from the base movement.
The module is only attached to the caliber using screws. The release system of the chronograph function can either be a column-wheel in very sophisticated chronographs or a cam or shuttle in less sophisticated ones.
As mentioned above, the first chronograph-wristwatch developed by Longines in 1913 inspired the production of the Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph. The pieces from 1913 housed the 13.33z caliber, which was the first chronograph movement Longines made for wristwatches. The Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph houses the L788 caliber, a single push-piece movement developed exclusively for Longines by ETA. As its ancestor, the piece is equipped with a column-wheel and measures 13¼ lines. By simply pressing the single push-piece, one can control all the functions of this chronograph.
This 40-mm chronograph is available in three versions. The single push-piece of each one of them – embedded in the fluted crown – gives them appealing aesthetics and reminds us of the piece that inspired them. Their white dial is decorated with painted black numerals and a red “12”, which is a direct reference to the dials from 1913.
The counters fitted at 3 and 9 o’clock, the date aperture at 6 o’clock, and the blued hands finish off the dial. Two of the versions – steel and pink gold respectively – display Arabic numerals while the third one, in steel, displays Roman numerals.
The same steel and pink gold versions have round cases whereas the third steel version – inspired by the codes of a previous piece – features mobile lugs. This version has a thicker case, which reveals a more angular profile and thus emphasizes its powerful personality. The three versions have a transparent sapphire back through which the blue column-wheel of the movement can be admired. All the Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph models come with a brown alligator strap.
As mentioned before, there are two steel models and one pink gold version. They all feature the same white dial, decorated with black numerals and a red number twelve along with blued hands. The fluted crown – into which the single push-piece is inserted – completes the traditional aesthetics of these pieces.